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Hot Topic #1: The dumbing down of Oblivion


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#81
Vagrant0

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get older with the player.

Took me about a month in game time to beat the game, and I took my time. Granted I had adjusted the timescale, but even at the standard 30 to 1 there havn't been enough years that passed to notice anything... As is people still think the emporer still died yesterday and don't know what to do. Or for that matter everyone knowing about it less than an hour after it happened (I tell you they're in on it). Forget getting old, I would settle for NPCs who have some sense of time between events before they talk about it.

#82
BorgBucolic

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Not that I believe that anyone at Bethesda will actually be reading this, but here goes.

In comparing Morrowind to Oblivion game-play-wise, what Oblivion has in eye and ear candy, it is less in everything else.

Morrowind touted that its world was open to explore without having to follow the linear storyline. It did this as much as it could. Oblivion is much less so. In fact, if you don't engage the main linear quest, the game dries up pretty quickly. Once the quest is complete, the game goes really dry. There is no reacting, just acting.

After a little while of playing Oblivion, I had this feeling that things were missing or left out. It seemed like things were just removed.

Initally, I felt that Bethesda left things out for modders to build upon this world. Perhaps so they could sell mods themselves. I mean, lots of people buy bling for their cell phones.

But now that I think about it, there is another purpose that makes much more sense.

I believe that Bethesda made Oblivion based on their rep with Morrowind, but the PC was not their target market. Think about it.

If your target was console machines, the game had better fit on a DVD. It will have to sacrifice some (perhaps a lot) gameplay to add pretty graphics and sounds and make it fit on a disk. Consoles are a huge market of game buyers.

Of course, they would have to leave out some of Morrowind's complexity for a market of players that are not as familiar with RPGs. They would have to remove Morrowind's other-worldly-ness and replace it with the familiar medieval themes and provide a more Camalot look and feel. Less plots and more hack and slash. You don't have many buttons on a console. Also, there is not room in consoles for many save files, so make sure the PC can to everything the game has to offer in one saved game. Have the PC able to do all the guilds and quests.

Technically, consoles are easier to write for. They are all the same machine. One graphics configuration fits all.

For the PC market, dumbing down the game is no problem. There are plenty of modders willing to fix these problems for free.

Has Bethesda dumbed down Oblivion? Yes, I think so. Was it to save money? No. I think it was to widen their market of customers. I think they have tried to strattle the fence between the console and PC market. Make it pretty enough for the consoles and playable enough for the PCs. Its a win-win.

However, they are not the only ones guilty of this. Lets face it, the nifty graphics and sounds sells games. Appearance sells better than content. Who really buys the SI swimsuit edition for their articles? If I had to choose how game developement resources are spent, I'd go with what sells and let the modders fix the rest.

#83
Kenshkrix

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However, they are not the only ones guilty of this. Lets face it, the nifty graphics and sounds sells games. Appearance sells better than content. Who really buys the SI swimsuit edition for their articles? If I had to choose how game developement resources are spent, I'd go with what sells and let the modders fix the rest.

This would fall under the simple fact that humans are intrigued by shiny objects. However, as a sentient, thinking, game player. I have to say that they should at the very least to make it a very simple task to mod it. While Oblivion is much more mod-able than most other games available, it could still be much easier.

#84
Karasuman

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Wow, all this bitching...I never thought I'd do this, as Morrowind is one of my favorite games that exists, but I'm going to have to break it to many of you that Morrowind isn't perfect either. Not by any means. I'm remaining subjective. I like both games a lot, as to me they both have their charms about them. I played Morrowind before I played Oblivion. Boy did I. I played Morrowind for an easy 700 hours spanned over 4 months with 12 different characters. I'd never seen anything like it, i.e. "...is that a giant flea?"

But let's be realistic here people. Allow me to break out the list of things Morrowind could've done better:

Combat sucked, but then that's been spoken of. How about the horrible 3rd-person PC character looks/animations? I quit playing Morrowind the first time I bought it (and sold it soon after) because I couldn't stand how the vanilla PC character choices looked. They were blocky and badly textured, and looked really retarded when they ran or fought. They certainly could've done better in that area. Even if most people play in 1st person, it's still nice to not see a pixelated, blocky goofball running in that cool armor you just found.

And to say with a straight face that Morrowind didn't feature repetitive dialogue? You must've been playing a different game than I did, because I had read the same lines about 40,000 times from every NPC in the game after awhile.

Let's examine the unique items you can find in Morrowind. Sure, you can find unique items in dangerous places in Morrowind. Well, that is to say those places are dangerous until you're level 15 (10 with an experienced player). Then you simply run around romping anything that gets in your way. The game should not have become that easy that soon. Furthermore, those unique items...guess what? Once you've played the game a time or two, you know where they ALL are. Everytime. I know there's Orcish armor upstairs in Ghorak manner. I know there's a full set of Glass in the Ald'Ruhn Fighter's Guild, just like I know where that Daedric Wakizashi is in the Prelude Shipwreck. I can get *all* these things at level 3 because I know precisely where they're all at...every single time. To me that hurts replayability after awhile, because you can tell yourself you won't get that dai-katana from the egg mine north of Assarnibibi, but you will, and you know you will because getting beat down is not a typical gamer's cup of tea, especially not when he KNOWS where to find the items that will ensure he will not get beat down any longer. You show me a fresh level 1 character in Morrowind, and after about 2 hours I'll show you a character that is ridiculously powerful at level 4 or 5. Morrowind becomes too routine-oriented after you've played it a couple times.

I'm all for difficulty in finding certain places/areas, but I've been quoted as saying that there were a few quests which required me to find places so clandestine and camouflaged that it made me want to "tear my intestines out and strangle myself with them." Remember Therayna's mine you had to find during one of the initial Telvanni quests? My poor, poor Saitek controller...It did nothing to warrant the type of beating I laid on it trying to find that goddamn place...on a tiny island...surrounded by a billion other tiny islands.

I will not now list the merits of Morrowind, because it's a funny thing...it had so many of them that I easily overlooked those things above which at times drove me batsh*t. In fact, it managed to become my favorite game, supplanting the Castlevania series (a feat not previously thought possible). I've spent a retarded amount of time playing both Morrowind and Oblivion, and my point to this was that my poor eyes get fatigued by reading the asinine amount of complaints lodged against Oblivion, with "veterans" dismissing it, convinced of their own rightness that Oblivion is not an accomplishment at all. You're entitled to your opinion, but it really seems to me that there are many who are a little too blinded to many of Morrowind's faults because they're far too busy tearing Oblivion apart.

As a footnote, I also think Shivering Isles is the finest expansion I've played for almost any game, certainly my favorite of the TES series. "Get the stick out of your ass and start listening to the community." You do actually make a valid point, as there are some things Bethesda needs to implement to make the series better...However, let's not act like they're totally dismissive. Giant mushrooms? Golden Saints? Odd personalities? Wierd architecture? Armor construction? Sound familiar? It should, because many of those things are in there for the Morrowind devotees that wished they saw more of that brand of atmosphere in Oblivion. Hell, I could hardly blame Bethesda for caring a little less about fans. If you made an entire expansion around the idea that you wish to show "the community" that you do care what they think, and they proceed to complain some more anyways and piss all over something you spent a sh*tload of time working on, what would you think of fans like that?

Point is, I think they're both great games, and they've kept me entertained for hours on end. And I don't look a gifthorse in the mouth.

#85
dmac

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Oblivion was amazing when I first sat down and started playing, even better when I got a computer that could actually run it with all the detail turned up. Now that I've been playing a while and after being spoiled by content from previous ES titles namely mw and daggerfall. I found myself just running around in a gorgeous empty world. No surprises, no real choices to make. It felt really dumbed down. Even after modding it with hundreds of really good mods, there is still something missing... and if I were Bethesda I would pay close attention to the wishes of your devoted fans/customers as they are the reason you are where you are today. They need to start building upon great games instead of taking things out so it will fit on a console. PC gamers are not as easily wowed with simple eye candy and havok physics, they expect more, they want choices, detail and replayability especially when it comes to an epic series like TES. When Bethesda makes TESV they should include most of these if they want to make a truly epic game as everyone is expecting as I really found myself missing these aspects in Oblivion and I doubt I am the only one

THE WISH LIST

Bring back unlimited random quests like we had in daggerfall (more replay value)
shops with random non-leveled inventories that you can actually steal from
no more worthless items (everything has a value, even if its just 1 gold)
role playing choices with real consequences (different outcomes)
more factions and more quests (even if they're just random fetch quests or killing quests, never run out of stuff to do)
rank requirements and factions with enemy factions that you can't join both for replay value (maybe even faction wars)
choosing a race has more pros/cons
npcs that react differently to you depending on your race, gender, decisions you make, etc not just one line in a tutorial dungeon
bring right/left bracers and pauldrons back, more armor choices
crossbows, darts, throwing weapons, spears, staff, short blades, and governing skills basically the whole weapon and armor system from MW with Oblivion style combat
surprise encounters and unleveled creatures
less empty feeling world, more detail, randomness and surprises
more hand placed and hidden loot to search for (give us a reason to explore those beautiful enviroments)
more hand built dungeons with hand placed loot, less puzzle piece dungeons that all look and feel about the same. (Give us a reason to dungeon crawl again)
better underwater areas (seaweed, underwater grottos and dungeons, shipwrecks, sunken treasure, more underwater creatures such as dreugh, merfolk and slaughtersharks)
more varied architexture dependent on region (ie the twisting towers from sadrith mora, sand huts in gnisis)
more fantasy setting less medieval setting (scrapping guar to put deer in, sure hunting deer is fun and all but I like this game because its a fantasy game)
more intricate objects, more attention to detail
more rewarding thief aspects, (I hated breaking into places just to find the same worthless clay pots, this fits into handplaced items but there's other ways to improve this)
more randomness (random quests, randomly generated stats/scaling of monsters, npcs, weapons, armor, dungeons, loot, keep us guessing)
instead of npcs that level up with you, make them actually level up independly by doing what they do (merchants level up the more they sell, bandits level up by fighting, etc, that would be true radiant ai)
more classes with class distinction and bonuses per level
more monsters
more items
more weapons
more armor
more skills
more variety
more selection
more/bigger landmasses
more interaction with world
limitless replayability
more user custimization within game menu
epic storyline
more epic feel (less dumbed down console feel)
no more getting rid of stuff we actually like! (add to the game, don't take stuff out)
And if it wont fit on a silly little console make a seperate collecters edition version dedicated to PC gamers with all the extra stuff included, I dont care if its on 8 DVDs and costs 80 bucks I'd still buy it if the key ingredients were there.

If Bethesda would listen into some of these ideas and put them in their next title they would have a truly epic game, and not some dumbed down console game that also happens to be on pc. They have all the building blocks to do this, lets just hope they get it all right this time. I love oblivion and morrowind and still play them both if only they hadn't taken SO many positive aspects out of them I would love them that much more
Luckily we have devoted modders and a cs so we can change the game to our liking and make it almost the way we really want it but hopefully TESV will be about more not less. Then we can start modding to add to the game instead of fixing what was missing or taken out to begin with.

And I'm not trying to bash Bethesda, They did a really fine job and their games still remain my all time favorites even after the countless months I've spent playing them. I'm just a little disapointed that they may have forgotten their roots, the PC is where this series started! I can deal with a few minor let downs like any truly devoted fan. I'm just hoping with their next release they will take ALL of the pros from all their games and add on to that, instead of starting over from scratch to appease some new console generation whos never even heard of Daggerfall or Dagoth Ur.

Heres hoping anyway

#86
larapinto

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Dumbing down is indeed an apt description of what has happened to the Elder Scrolls series. After observing similar dumbing downs in other popular games most notably the original Sid Meyer's games e.g. Civilization I suspect its down to marketing getting the better of the developers while aiming for a larger and hence dumber market. I just hope that eventually niche games for the more discerning gamers will reemerge but for now I must say that I was badly disappointed by the Oblivion game-play compared to Morrowind. Lets look for niche developers in the future and leave future dumb downs on the shop shelves - that is the only language marketers respond to.

#87
confedr8

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Best first person Fantasy game I have ever played..even in the vanilla form.
Of course..this is my first experience with the Elder Scrolls series....so what do I know? :)

#88
Kasumi_Chan

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Well Oblivion is the first Elder Scrolls game I've played, so I can't compare to the previous games. My biggest gripe is the lack of voice acting. Someone comes up and starts saying "hi" and I'm wondering "hey didn't you die earlier?". I admit the mixing and matching of armors kinda looks bad, but I grabbed Growlf's armor pack and the "beautiful people" pack and it's nice now.

#89
Vagrant0

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Best first person Fantasy game I have ever played..even in the vanilla form.
Of course..this is my first experience with the Elder Scrolls series....so what do I know? :)

If you have $40-$60 to spend, go see about buying a PSone and Kings Field 1 or Kings Field 2. despite the fact that they were made almost 10 years ago, and are a console game, the gameplay and level designs are in many ways better than most games being made today. As a first person fantasy they're still at the top of my list. The PS2 games from the same developer (eternal ring, Kings Field: The Ancient City, and some other one) I fail to remember the name of) feature the same kind of gameplay styles with a bit more emphasis on graphics, story, and specific systems, but would cost a bit more if you don't already have the system. Bethsoft has better free roaming support and npc depth though, not to mention mods.

As to the above poster, Morrowind had better combat, you had to decide what kind of attacks you'd be making with weapons (slash, thrust, chop) rather than the block till they attack you and click away while they're recovering. Then there were more weapon types with different ranges to add further variety. Morrowind gave you 700 hours of entertainment with or without mods? Yeah, I can get what you're saying about knowing where everything is after the 10th play through... But that's the same for pretty much everything but Diablo. Eventually, once you've explored everything you'll run out of stuff without adding new things to explore. If those areas change, they have to change in a way where there is always a challenge or something worth all the trouble. Oblivion fails this more than Morrowind because there aren't any special unique things inside that cave, at best you'll find a chest with some yarn and misc. potions. Morrowind got around the whole changing contents issue by having a lot of places to explore. I only played it for 100-200 hours and I still didn't manage to find half the stuff people mention, when the average game these days only has 20-30 hours worth of content that's a huge improvement. While I still havn't explored every ruin and cave in Oblivion, it's safe to assume that doing so isn't worth the handful of worthless clutter, as that's about all that's out there.

#90
riddiam

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Yes it was. I was sick and tired of other rpg (too short, too bad......)
and then...... i saw the light (it was a flash light!) and buyed OBLIVION, a true rpg. It's been a while too (since easter) , but with a long side quest, 5 or 6 guilds, each one with multiple quests, dozens of side quests, mods and plugins (6883 at least), i think it is a couple bucks well spent.




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